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Unemployment Drops Mostly Because People Stop Looking: The New Normal in the Age of Black Political Empowerment

Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

Release Date: 12/04/2013

The Battle For Ballot Access is a Century Old. It's Time to Break it Open  show art The Battle For Ballot Access is a Century Old. It's Time to Break it Open

Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

A century ago, Republicans and Democrats passed ballot access restrictions to prevent socialists from getting on the ballot in the US. It's time to organize to break those barriers.

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The Battle For Ballot Access is a Century Old. It's Time to Break it Open  show art The Battle For Ballot Access is a Century Old. It's Time to Break it Open

Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

A century ago, Republicans and Democrats passed ballot access restrictions to prevent socialists from getting on the ballot in the US. It's time to organize to break those barriers.

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Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

Joe Biden announced his candidacy for president last week. You might imagine that in the age of Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren, with some of the leading Democrats talking up free college tuition, the abolition of student debt, Medicare For All raising the minimum wage and taxing wealthy individuals and moonwalking even a little away from support of apartheid Israel that another frankly pro-corporate candidate would enter the race somewhere near the bottom of the polls. That would be right. You’d be imagining that. In the real world, Joe Biden announced last week and the first three polls...

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Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

When the faux reparationists of ADOS point to the colonial settler state of apartheid Israel as an example of restorative justice and reparations for Jews in support of their claim to reparations for blacks in the US they are either confused, cynical, or both.

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Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

Tulsi Gabbard uses peace rhetoric to chase us back into the war party. That's the textbook definition of a sheepdog candidate.

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Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

ADOS deprecates solidarity, ignores racist empire and capitalism. But without eliminating those, reparations will be impossible to achieve.

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Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

If we seriously want to accomplish the heasv y lifting of reparations for the descendants of Africans in the western hemisphere it miht be time to call it something else

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Facing 2020 and Bernie 2.0: What the Greens Must Do show art Facing 2020 and Bernie 2.0: What the Greens Must Do

Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

Bernie has upped his game for 2020, forcing everybody else to do the same. The challenges are particularly steep for the Green Party, which must field a 2020 campaign aimed achieving national ballot access, and building a new kind of sustainable, viable party outside and independent of the parties of capital.

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Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

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Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

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A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Unemployment Drops Mostly Because People Stop Looking: The New Normal in the Age of Black Political Empowerment

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Normal things are the ones we don't think or talk about much, not because they are unimportant, but because they are, well, normal.

It's important, though, for us to interrogate some of these old normals, and to question why some new things are also passing into the never-mentioned land of the normal as well.

Take black unemployment. For as long as the stats have been kept, since well before the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and the election of thousands of black faces to offices high and low across the country, black unemployment has never been less than double white unemployment. As recently as the 1970s and 1980s black politicians used to inveigh about fighting for full employment and something they used to call “a Marshall Plan for the cities” to turn it around. But now, with the numbers and supposed influence of black politicians at an all time high, addressing black unemployment isn't just off the table, it's somewhere out of the building. Both catastrophic black unemployment and the silence of the black misleadership class on the issue have been normal for a good while now.

Whenever the general unemployment rate drops a tenth or two of a percent nowadays, the talking heads at MSNBC and other outfits whose job is cheerleading for this administration fall over themselves to praise this president and his administration for their wise and far-seeing economic leadership. That's normal as well. But underneath those small reductions in unemployment is something ugly, something that's becoming another new normal.

Incremental reductions in unemployment, now more than ever before, seem to be driven by people giving up the job search as hopeless, people dropping out of the labor market to do whatever it is poor people do when they can't find work on the books. This has routinely become a large part of current reductions in unemployment, a new and disturbing normal in this, the supposed age of black political empowerment. If this were true under a white Republican, our black political leaders would be up in arms, at least long enough to mobilize us to vote one of their own into office. But in this, the age of the first black president, at what we are told is the pinnacle of black political power, is a new age, and there is a new normal.

For Black Agenda Report, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.